Part four: Real life solution
Concluding our current series on fuel poverty, we explore how Dimplex Quantum and Q-Rad heaters were implemented to bring a vast saving to a young couple in their 1960s property, and acts as an example of how Dimplex products can help those who are fuel poor.
Partially upgrading a system of manual electric storage heaters to a combination of Dimplex Quantum and Q-Rad heaters is all it took for homeowner Amy Ahmed-Dolphin to cut her heating bills by more than £500 per year – and improve comfort and controllability too.
Amy bought her first house in 2004, a two-bedroom, ex-local authority, end of terrace property in the picturesque hamlet of Rowington, Warwickshire. Due to its rural location, the majority of the village is situated off the gas grid, including the Ahmed-Dolphin home, which was heated using manual electric night storage heater technology dating back around 30 years.
After 11 years in the house, Amy and her husband Saleem researched how they could reduce heating bills in the 1960s property, which also suffers heat loss due to poor insulation.
They discovered Dimplex Quantum, a unique off-peak system which enables users to store energy during cheaper, off-peak periods and use it when they want it, through the day and night. With the support of the Dimplex heating design team, Amy replaced one of the three storage heaters with a Dimplex Quantum heater, added a further Quantum heater to the kitchen, and also added a Dimplex Q-Rad electric radiator in the hallway.
She said: “At the point we upgraded the heating system, we were paying an average direct debit of £119 per month to the energy company. Now, we’ve dropped to an average of less than £73 per month. That’s a saving of more than £500 across the year – and on those calculations, we’re expecting the upgrade to pay for itself in around five years.
“And the best thing of all is that we didn’t even have to replace all the heaters. We upgraded one storage heater and added new appliances in the kitchen and the hall, but we kept the original storage heaters in the two upstairs bedrooms. And the results still surpassed our expectations.”
Fuel poverty remains a serious issue in the UK. For young and old, families and couples, the disproportionate cost of heating can cause stress, illness and worse. We have shown that it does not have to be the case in electrically heated homes. The technologies are available, the payback periods are justifiable and the ongoing savings that can be achieved are real. By extending funding support for energy efficiency improvements to electrically heated homes, we could facilitate millions of additional electric heating upgrades. We could replace the ageing storage heating systems and address the incorrect specifications which are contributing to a fuel poverty gap of around £160million. And we could improve daily life for millions of homeowners, private tenants and social housing residents across the UK.